The students at the University of Pennsylvania have been working on a robot, named, Graspy. They have been successful in teaching Graspy how to read. The entire exercise of getting Graspy to read was conducted at the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) laboratory.
The students taped text messages onto the wall and made Graspy read them. The students would simultaneously make the necessary modifications to the text-recognition program in order to fine tune Graspy’s reading abilities.
Graspy would repeat simple phrases like, “My name is Graspy,” etc again and again as part of the reading training exercise. Professor Kostas Daniilidis pointed out that the software, which the students developed was unique as it enabled the robot to hunt around for words with the help of the camera attached to it. The robot recognises words by finding strokes of homogeneous width and lines of text, which are spaced evenly. The setbacks that the robot is facing in reading is the inability to recognise two-letter words and not being able to identify text that merges with the background, on which they are printed on. Menglong Zhu, a student pursuing masters in Robotics, has written the program. He claimed that the program would enable the robots to read words on signboards, on train stations or on buildings and figure out where they are presently located. He added that the software could be extended to develop applications that would guide the blind.